Monday, November 18, 2013

Checks and Balances

Fourth grade students spend the second marking period learning about what makes Pennsylvania a unique part of the United States. An interesting fact about Pennsylvania is that the format of our state government was used as a framework for the new United States government.

Last week we learned that Pennsylvania's government has an executive, legislative, and judicial branch. Our state government's executive branch is led by the governor and lieutenant governor, and the legislative branch is made up of the General Assembly. Like our federal Congress the General Assembly is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Our judicial branch also has a Supreme Court that interprets laws for the state, but our Supreme Court still has to follow the rulings of the United States Supreme Court.

The unique thing about the branches of our state (and federal) government is that they all have equal amounts of power. Each branch has unique jobs, and those jobs help them keep the other branches from having too much control over what happens in the government. Understanding how checks and balances works can be tricky so we did a little activity to help us understand. Students worked in groups of three, and each person had to hold one corner of a triangle to represent one branch of government. The groups had to balance a marble on the triangle, and while it seemed like it was going to be easy there were marbles bouncing all over the room! We quickly learned that even though each branch has it's own special jobs, it's not easy to work together on a tricky task.

Check out the slideshow below to see the pictures of us practicing our checks and balances!

video

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fit and Fun!

On Friday, November 8 students and teachers at Bear Creek celebrated their school spirit with Fitness Day. Everybody wore their best workout gear, and we even headed outside for a little fitness session. We did exercises, team-building activities, and we ended with a running race for those who wanted to participate. Check out their pictures of our class and Mrs. Towsen's class enjoying our exercises!

video

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Synthesizing

The more we talk about our reading strategies, the more we realize that actually all of the reading strategies go together. Let's look at synthesizing. Technically synthesizing means that you take the information you read and see if it makes you change your thinking from before you started to read. But here's what we realized!

  • This is actually the same as making a prediction. You think about what the story will be about before you read, and then you see if you are correct while you read. If you are, you keep going. If not, you change your prediction!
  • It's also just like noting details because we're looking for important information that tells us whether our thinking was correct or incorrect.
  • It's also just like summarizing because you have to take what you've learned and put it into your own words to make sure you understood it.
  • And along the way you ask questions about thing you didn't understand or facts you want to know more about!
So maybe they call the skill synthesizing, but really it's just using ALL of the reading strategies at the same time! If you take a look at the pictures below, you'll see how we synthesized information to learn about a capybara. If you've never seen a capybara, we've included a photo of one at the end. What something you have read about and the reading changed your thinking or helped you learn something new? Please leave a comment and tell us all about it!

This was our thinking about capybaras before we did any reading.

As we read we recorded important details that we learned, and we talked about some new vocabulary.

We summarized what we learned to show how differently our thinking is now that we've read.

A capybara
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wet-capyvara-in-Brazil.jpg

Monday, November 4, 2013

Exploring Science Tools

As we wrapped up our study and summary of the scientific process, we had the chance to go to the lab and try out many of the different tools that scientists use as they work through experiments. During our lab time we had the chance to use all of the different tools that are on our study sheet. From trundle wheels to microscopes, graduated cylinders to thermometers, we experienced how tricky it can be for scientists to be precise and measure things accurately. Check out the pictures of us using the tools of scientists!

video

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Celebrating Wackiness!

Today it was Wacky Hair Day at Bear Creek, and boy oh boy, did Team Kit Kat ever show off their school spirit! We are definitely Bear Creek Proud! I hope everybody who is going out tonight has a safe, fun evening, and we hope you enjoy some laughs courtesy of our Wacky Hair. :)

video

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Special Social Studies Visit

Over the course of the last month we have been learning all sorts of different map skills. We've talked about hemispheres, lines of latitude and longitude, locations of continents and oceans, and map scale. While we've been talking about how these skills will help us in real life, yesterday we had a chance to really make our map skills come alive.

Lauren's mom, who works at the State Museum in Harrisburg (where we are going for our field trip!), brought in a 20 foot by 30 foot map of the state of Pennsylvania. This map had a compass rose, lines of latitude and longitude, a scale, a grid, cities, counties, county seats, rivers, and landforms. We talked about so many different things that we could learn from this map. We discovered that most people in Pennsylvania live in the southeastern corner of the state, and that is where the best farming land is found. In the northwestern corner of the state there are not many people, but there are many mountains, forests, and wild animals to enjoy.

Kids from our class and Mrs. Towsen's class had the chance to locate the different parts of the map, use the scale to find out it's about 300 miles from Erie to Philadelphia, and use the grid to find some of Pennsylvania's cities and important highways. At the end of the presentation partners and groups of three each got an animal that was native to Pennsylvania and had to find its habitat on the map. We had to work together to use our map skills to correctly place all of our animals.

We really appreciated that Lauren's mom was willing to take time out of her day to come in and show us how we can apply map skills in a different way. We are looking forward to having her come back to make Pennsylvania's history come alive!

video

Harlem Globetrotters

On October 9 the students at Bear Creek were treated to an amazing display of basketball skills and some great lessons on standing up to bullies. Handles Franklin, who is originally from Harriburg, PA, showed off his basketball talents by doing amazing spins, dribbles, and shots.

While he was mesmerizing us with his skills Handles also shared some ABCs of bullying and how to reach your dreams. The ABCs of bullying are:


  • A - Action - take action to be kind and caring to people; take action by telling adults when you see bullying happening
  • B - Bravery - be brave when you see bullying and stand up for those people who are being bullied
  • C - Compassion - care about all people and always do the right thing
Handles shared that he had ALWAYS wanted to be a part of the Globetrotters team after he saw them when he was a little kid, and with hard work and perseverance he reached his dream. He encouraged all of the students at Bear Creek to work hard, believe in themselves, and never give up on a dream. 

We all enjoyed seeing Handles and hearing his message, and we hope he has a great season with the Globetrotters!







Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Our Science Experiments

Last week you got to see how we've been learning about the scientific process. Now we want to share the results of our own science experiments! Our groups chose the following materials to redo the paperclip experiment:

  • push pins
  • staples
  • bingo chips
  • small letter tiles
  • fat letter tiles
  • dice
  • small snap cubes
Some of the information for our experiment paper was filled in, but we had to complete some of the parts ourselves. We had to make observations about our materials, ask questions, and come up with a hypothesis about how many items will make the cup overflow. During the experiment we had to carefully keep track of how many things we added to the cup, and then we had to talk about our results and tell what we learned. It was exciting to see how many items it took, and we're still thinking about why we got the results we did. We're excited to continue using the scientific process to do other experiments this year.

Take a look at these pictures of us writing our responses and carrying out our experiments!

video

Reading Strategies You Can Do at Home

We've been working on reading strategies here at school that you can use at home to talk about the books you are reading. They don't require any special materials, and each of these strategies will help improvement your comprehension.

One strategy is picking out story elements. While we were reading the stories Akiak, about a dog running the Iditarod, and Ghosts in the Attic, about a girl whose family helps fugitives move along the Underground Railroad, we talking about things that are included in every fiction story: characters, setting, a problem, events, and an resolution or solution. There's a fun way you can show these elements in a visual way. It's called a plot map, and it helps you see these important elements in order from beginning to end. You could use a plot map for a whole book, or you can even use it for a chapter in a book.

Our plot map for Akiak
Another strategy that goes along with story elements is summarizing what you've read. When you summarize you only tell the most important information, although we all decided we like to give LOTS of information about stories we like so it's sometimes challenging to pick out the important parts. Using a plot map can help with that!

Our first draft of our summary

When you summarize what you've read it means you're putting things in your own words and that shows you reading understood what you're reading. We do a lot of summarizing when we start our book The Boys Start the War and the Girls Get Even so we remember where we left off the last time we read.

The two other strategies we've been working on are predicting and inferring. Predicting is an easy one! You look at the title and the book, and you make a guess about what you think might happen. But did you know you're actually supposed to stop in the middle of your reading to see if your prediction is on the right track?? You are!! Then you can keep your prediction or change it to what you think might happen now that you have a little background knowledge about the book. We were all very surprised to know you're supposed to go back and see if your predictions are correct!

Finally we make inferences when we try to figure out why things are happening or why characters are acting certain ways in books. Another shocking thing we learned?? Authors don't always give you all of the information you need! Can you believe it? Well, they don't. So you have to read carefully to look for clues to try and figure things out. We had to do this in Ghosts in the Attic. Virginia thought there were ghosts in her attic, and she kept asking her parents questions and telling them things that were happening. Her parents kept ignoring her, giving each other glances, or saying things that didn't seem quite right. We had to use these clues to figure out that her parents might be keeping a secret, and sure enough they were!!

Each of these four strategies can help improve our reading comprehension, and they are easy to practice at home with questions like these:

  • Can you tell me about the plot of your story?
  • Can we make a plot map about what you read?
  • Can you summarize what happened in that chapter?
  • What do you think might happen next? Why do you think that?
  • Why do you think the character did / said that? What do you think that means?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Exploring the Scientific Process

We've started off 4th grade science by taking a closer look at exactly how scientists have to be precise and specific when they do experiments to help others understand what they've done. To do this every scientist follows the scientific method or scientific process when they are doing an experiment.

We have taken a close look at the different steps of the process. They are:

  • Observe - look at the world around you and notice things that make you curious
  • Ask Questions - ask some questions about why those things happen, or ask questions about what would happen if you did something different
  • Hypothesize - predict an answer to your question
  • Plan - make a plan for the experiment you'd like to do
  • Perform the Experiment - follow your plan to see what happens
  • Analyze the Data - draw diagrams, take pictures, record movies, or make charts and graphs so that you can show people what happened
  • Draw Conclusions - see what you learned, if you're hypothesis was proven, and how this could help other people; sometimes this makes you want to do another experiment

We did a different experiment to learn about each of these different steps. Our class and Mrs. Towsen's class developed our observation skills by trying to figure out what was in Mystery Boxes. We practice making hypotheses by trying to figure out what would happen if we put gummy bears in a cup of water for 24 hours. Our All About Me Bags helped us practice diagramming, and we surveyed our classes to learn all sorts of favorite things.

To see how all of the pieces fit together, we did a Water Cup and Paperclip Experiment. We talked about what we knew about full cups of water (did you know that water can actually go ABOVE the top of the cup??? How crazy is that!?!) and paperclips, and then there was a question. Mrs. Bair asked us, "How many paperclips will it take to overflow an already full cup of water?" Many of us hypothesized it would take between 5 and 10. Boy, were we ever surprised!!!! Check out these pictures taken by Woodner:
Getting started - many of us were already way off

Holy Moly! Over half full and still not overflowing!

Can you see the meniscus on the top of the water? 

FINALLY!!! It overflowed! You can definitely see how the water is over the top of the cup here!
It took 507 paperclips to make the cup overflow!! Mrs. Towsen's class only needed 178 to make their cup overflow so we talked about some variables, the things that might have been different. One was our paperclips. We had very tiny paperclips, and Mrs. Towsen's class used bigger ones. Another variable was the amount of water in the cup to start. Our cup only had a tiny meniscus so that may be why it took longer.

We had a lot of fun talking about our results and how far off our hypotheses were. Now that we completed this experiment together we are branching off and doing the same type of experiment on our own. Seven different groups are using different classroom materials to design and complete and experiment to learn more about water and how it works. Check back here at the end of the week to see the results!



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dot Day

On Monday, September 16 our class participated in Dot Day, a worldwide day to celebrate what makes us all unique and special.

Dot Day is based upon the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. It's the story of a girl named Vashti who is just no good at art. One day after class her teacher asks her to just "make her mark" on her paper. The next day Vashti comes to art she finds her dot framed and hanging above her teacher's desk. From then on Vashti recognizes that she can do amazing things with her dots, and she even convinces a young friend to make his mark.

Our class talked about how this book wasn't just talking about art. We figured out that what the author was really trying to tell us was that we can make our mark anywhere and doing anything if we really put our mind to it. So that is exactly what we did. In honor of Dot Day, we made our marks, and now they are proudly displayed in our downstairs gallery for everybody to see on their way to lunch, specials and the walking path. We are proud of our dots, and we hope that we can make many other positive marks on Bear Creek.

Since you may not be able to come in to see our dots, we'd like to share them with you! Please enjoy our little Dot Day video!

video

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Understanding Differences

As part of our weekly all school class meetings on Wednesday afternoons, the classes on Team Kit Kat had a special opportunity to learn more about understanding and appreciating differences. Mrs. Vosburg, our autistic support consultant, came in to teach our classes a little bit about autism and how kids who have autism are different than us. We were really interested to learn that sometimes our friends with autism have one of their 5 senses that works differently! Maybe things sound extra loud or things that taste yummy to us taste yucky for them. We imagined that it would be really hard having things look, smell, sound, taste and feel so differently.

Mrs. Vosburg also taught us there is a 6th sense!! It is called your social sense, and this sense helps you understand people and how they are feeling even if they don't use words. She told us that our friends with autism sometimes don't have that 6th sense so they have to learn it to understand how people are feeling. We imagined that must be really hard if you can't understand how people are feeling and have to wait for them to tell you. It can make for challenging situations.

We learned a lot from Mrs. Vosburg, and she shared that she has even more to teach us! We're excited that she's willing to come in and talk with us so that we can understand and be friends with all of the kids in our classes, on our team, and in our school.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Our Promise

As I mentioned earlier this week we spent several days talking about Bear Creek's Code of Conduct and what exactly it means to us. We talked about what a code is (a promise), and we discussed that conduct is another way to say how you act. Each of us picked one of the words in our promise and drew a picture showing what it meant to us. Here are many of the ways we plan on keeping our promise this year:


The Scientific Process

You might remember reading about how we worked with Mrs. Towsen's class to learn how scientists use observations and inferences to help them learn more about the world around them. These last few days we added another step to our learning about the scientific process: making a hypothesis.

When scientists like us make a hypothesis, they tell you about the research question, what they think will happen, and why they think it will happen. This means that all hypotheses should include an if, a then, and a because. To learn more about making a hypothesis we did a really fun experiment with gummy bears! Our hypotheses started like this:

If you put a gummy bear in water and leave it there over night then....... because.....

Our class was split into 5 groups, and each group got 5 gummy bears: red, orange, green, yellow, and clear. Some of us predicted the gummy bears would grow larger, while other groups predicted the bears would disintegrate (Yep! we even used that word!) in the water. Some groups also talked about the fact that the bears would change color in addition to changing size.

It ended up being a messy, oozy experiment because our bears definitely changed in just one day. We used our senses (with the exception of taste!) to think about how the bears were different, and our teams took measurements when we could to prove our observations with data. This experiment helped us see how important observations are when we are trying to prove or disprove a hypothesis.

Check out some pictures as we collected information to find out if our hypotheses were correct!

Wow! It was easy to observe how the gummy bears changed size just by looking at them!

EWWWW! Our sense of touch told us they got very slimy!

We still tried to measure them very carefully so we had data to support our observations.

And then we recorded the results along with our observations.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our New Class Pet

Well, technically he's not really our class pet because he never came in the room today, but Peter the Praying Mantis gave us a lot to talk about this morning when he hung out on our windows for about an hour!


We are so lucky that our school is in such a unique location that we can see all of these amazing creatures right outside our window!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Right Into the Swing of Things

We jumped right into our regular routine and got back into the swing of things now that we have a full week and no testing! Well, at least we don't have any standardized, bubble tests. Tomorrow we will all be doing our DIBELS check up, and today we took our spelling inventories. Mrs. Bair and the other teachers on our team will use this information to determine reading clinics for BEAR time and our word groups during Daily 5 time.

Our class started working on our first technology project today! We each drew a picture to show one way we can follow the Code of Conduct (did you know that Code of Conduct means promise of behavior?), and today Mrs. Bair recorded us sharing what our picture was about. Look for that video here on our blog later this week! The pictures are hanging on our cupboards to remind us about our promise.

One group brainstorming ideas for our pictures
After we finished our videos, we practice our Daily 5 and started talking about becoming professional writers although it was definitely a different start. Mrs. Bair had us try to put puzzles together, but our puzzles were missing pieces! Can you believe she would trick us like that? But she showed us how trying to put together a puzzle without all the pieces is like trying to write without all of the parts you need for a sentence. Tomorrow we're going to start learning more about those parts. This is us trying to put our puzzles together:





As if that wasn't exciting enough, we got together with Mrs. Towsen's class and continued to work on practicing our observation and inferencing skills. Did you know scientists have to use their senses and pay very close attention to details to try and figure things out? We're starting to realize that after we've spent two days working on some Mystery Boxes. Each box is wrapped, and we have no idea what's inside of it. We have to use our sight, smell, touch and hearing to figure out what we *think* is in the box. Mrs. Bair and Mrs. Towsen might reveal the contents on Thursday! Here are some pictures of us as scientists in action!








It was a busy and fun day! We can't wait to see what's in store for us tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

4-Sight Testing & Free Bear

If your child comes home tonight and tell you that we took a big test today, please don't panic! You didn't miss a homework assignment, and there was nothing to study at home. This morning we took our first 4-Sight test, a predictor test that tells us how we might expect a child to score on the PSSA. More importantly it tells us the focus areas your child needs to focus on to be successful in fourth grade. This is just one of the many measures that our team will be using to determine what skills to teach this year.

The great news is that everybody worked really hard, nobody got frustrated (which is awesome for a test like this on the 6th day of school!), and we saw some well-thought-out math strategies being used. The other great news is that after a long test we got to have our first Free Bear time today! Friends from our class tried out the foreign language club, played games in the gym, watched movies, played board games, had free choice on the computer, did crafts, and went on a nature walk around the school grounds. We all had a lot of fun, and we're excited to go next week! I am going to start using Class Dojo tomorrow so hopefully nobody will get three red marks and miss out next week!

One final note - thank you to everybody for returning your beginning of the year paperwork! The office appreciates that we all got our papers in before the due date! Please remember to bring back the blue and orange forms that were in your back to school folder. These papers will help me learn more about your child, and it also lets me know that you understand our discipline and homework policies.

Thanks again for a great first cycle! I am looking forward to MANY more!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Week Recap

It was great to meet many of you last night at Parent Night. For those of you who weren't able to attend, I hope to be able to post the presentation here so you can at least look through the slideshow and let me know if you have any questions. Look for that sometime this weekend.

I look forward to learning about your child when you return the blue paper in your parent night folder. Also, please don't forget to return the Homework and Discipline policy, the orange paper, from that folder, too.

It has been a crazy, crazy first week! We had several stations where we learned about Bear Creek. These included stations about the school rules, the walking path, BEAR time, the cafeteria, and how to prevent bullying at Bear Creek. We also did a team building activity with our Guidance Counselors, and we've done many other team building activities to get to know each other and to start working together. These included name juggling and a make a fist game. Both of these got us thinking about how our actions affect others and how it helps to focus on words.

To make the connection between this week and next week, we started looking carefully at our Code of Conduct. We learned that means a promise of how we'll behave. Today we worked in groups to think about what each word in our Code of Conduct means. It was tricky because I wouldn't let the kids use the word NO on our posters! Next week we'll talk more about what the Code of Conduct means and create projects for the website and room.



A group talking about what it means to be responsible

Yesterday and today we switched for our first days of math! During math class we thought carefully about what we're good at and what we'd like to be better at. We also took a fact pretest, and we also did our first two spiral reviews. An important part of our first two reviews got us thinking about where people use math every day, including patterns and sizes, and strategies people can use. These are just a few of the ideas we came up with during our discussion.



We also had our first fire drill at the end of the day today. I'm sure you heard all about how LOUD our fire signal is! It definitely surprised us all!

Thank you for a wonderful first week! Enjoy your long weekend, and we will see everybody again on Tuesday! :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Whirlwind First Day

It was so amazing to get to meet all of my new friends today! While lockers were challenging and the building was overwhelming, everybody had a very positive attitude and did a great job. We already have some locker experts, and I think everybody will be able to do their lockers by the end of this week. :)

Each night you should look for your child's agenda and homework folder. There's no folder tonight because we didn't have any papers, but some of you will find your child's back to school paperwork in their backpack. Please make sure to complete and return those forms as soon as possible. Each child also has 10 minutes of reading homework tonight. This can be ANY type of reading: picture books, chapter books, comic books, comic strips, websites, magazines, reading with you or listening to you read, reading you the grocery list as you're shopping! Anything that gets your child reading is what we want them to read. We will talk more about this on Parent Night Wednesday evening.

I hope your child feels like they had a great first day today! I'm looking forward to meeting all of you Wednesday night.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Open House Visit

It was so great to meet our 13 friends who came to visit the classroom during Open House today. I can already tell that we are going to be a wonderful family! Here are the reasons why everybody thinks 4th grade will be amazing:

Here are a couple of notes that may be helpful for the first day of school.


  • If you'd like bring a healthy snack (goldfish, pretzels, string cheese, fruit, etc.) to eat during snack time since we do not eat lunch until 12:40!
  • You may bring your own pencil box, homework folder, and magnetic / non-permanent decorations for your lockers.
  • You do not NEED to bring anything - we have all of the supplies you will need for the year so do not feel as though you need to go out and buy anything.
If you have any questions prior to the first day of school, please feel free to email me. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody on Monday morning!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Look at the Bair's Den

By now you have had a tour of Bear Creek, and you may have even attended one of the orientation tours here at Bear Creek this summer. But you may still be wondering, "What's it REALLY like to be a  fourth grader in the Bair's Den?" Well, the students who were in my class last year have some answers for you! Check out the video below to get the scoop!





We hope you enjoyed the video! If you have any questions, please leave comments, and I will answer them for you!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Welcome & Special Schedule


Hi everybody, and welcome to The Bair's Den! I am looking forward to having each of you in my class, and I hope you are just as excited as I am to be starting a new adventure at Bear Creek School!

Please check back here every day, and you will be able to find out a little bit more about our classroom, see some pictures (and maybe even a video!), and find out more about what our days will be like in The Bair's Den!

All of our specials will be held from 11:25 - 12:10. Each day I will update our homework page to remind you which special we will have the following day so you can help your child remember their sneakers, recorders or library books if needed.


  • Day 1 ~ Library 
  • Day 2 ~ Health (students should always wear sneakers for Health)
  • Day 3 ~ Music
  • Day 4 ~ Art
  • Day 5 ~ Phys Ed
  • Day 6 ~ Technology


I'm hoping that all of you will be able to come and join me on Wednesday, August 21 from 2:30 - 3:30 for our Open House. Come and see the school, visit the classroom, make your name tag, pick your first book, and meet some new friends.

I cannot wait for our new year together to begin!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Fun

Boy is it ever hot out there! Even with our crazy weather I hope the heat isn't keeping you glued to your TV or video games! There are still plenty of things that you can do to have some fun.

When it finally cools down, this article from Edutopia contains 6 links to different ideas you can use to have fun outside. I agree that the camera scavenger hunt looks like a really fun idea, Citizen Science always has really interesting projects for which you collect and submit meaningful data, and there are so many trails close to Elizabethtown that it makes many of the exploring projects a simple, low cost activity. Something I didn't see listed but has become one of my favorite things to do is Geocaching. With the development of GPS on Smartphones it is easier than ever to get involved in this treasure hunt, and I'm always excited to find my latest cache. Check out Geocaching.com if you want to learn more.

Another popular topic with kids is always FOOD! This next link from Edutopia has a variety of different topics about exploring and growing your own food. There are several farmers' markets in our area (Marietta has one every Sunday morning. Mount Joy also has one each week, but I'm not sure of the day.) where you and your child can meet our local farmers. And even at this late stage in July there are still fruits and veggies you can plant and harvest to enjoy!

I hope your family is able to find some fun activities through these links. If you have any special request, any ideas you'd like to learn more about please let me know and I'll gladly find some links to share!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Looking for Books?

So Mrs. Bair said you were supposed to read every day over the summer. Great. But what are we supposed to read? Earlier in June I shared this post with a couple of different book lists that were good places to start, but this past week I found another amazing book resource!

I follow many different blogs to help me be a better teacher, and the other day I stumbled across this list - the 101 Best Chapter Books to Read (or Hear) Before you Grow Up. I'm going to be honest, if you haven't read some of the books on this list you are probably going to enjoy them even if you ARE a grown up (or least your age says you SHOULD be)! There are books from every genre (type) on this list, and while I haven't read all of them, I've read about half so I'd like to point you to my favorites.

9. Because of Winn-Dixie (realistic fiction)
12. Bridge to Terabithia (realistic fiction)
13. Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery (fantasy)
14. Caddie Woodlawn (historical fiction)
15. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory* (fantasty)
17. Charlotte’s Web (fantasy)
19. The Cricket in Times Square* (fantasy)
28. Freckle Juice (realistic fiction)
30. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Franweiler* (mystery)
35. Harriet the Spy* (realistic fiction)
36. Hatchet (adventure)
37. How to Eat Fried Worms (realistic fiction)
41. Island of the Blue Dolphins (adventure)
51. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles* (fantasy)
54. The Little House on the Prairie series (historical fiction)
57. Magic Tree House (series - historical fiction / fantasy)
62. The Mouse and the Motorcycle (fantasy)
64. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh* (fantasy)
73. Pippi Longstocking (fantasy)
80. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (historical fiction)
82. The Secret Garden (historical fiction)
83. Shiloh*
84. Sideways Stories from Wayside School (fantasy)
85. Strawberry Girl (historical fiction)
94. The Trumpet of the Swan* (fantasy)


I know, I know, that's a lot of favorites! Those titles with the asterisks are the tops of the list, in my opinion. Which of those are my absolute favorites? Hmmmm.... if I had to pick my top five they would probably be....

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Harriet the Spy
The Cricket in Times Square
Shiloh
The Trumpet of the Swan

But honestly, I could read any of the books on this list over and over and over again. I hope my shortened list and the longer one you'll find by following the link will help you and your child find your new favorite book over the summer! Please leave a comment to share which ones you've decided to read!